Valenciennes (France): Defending European champion Netherlands bested Italy 2-0 to advance to the semifinals of the Women’s World Cup 2019 for the first time ever. After a somewhat lethargic first half amid the blazing sun heat at Stade du Hainaut, here, the Dutch squad lifted their game in the second on Saturday. The Netherlands dominated possession — playing with the ball nearly 60 per cent of the time — and were relentless on the attack, reports Efe news. Also Read – Dhoni, Paes spotted playing football together Italy, the Cinderella team of the tournament, were unable to convert the handful of chances they created in the first 45 minutes and didn’t get so much as a whiff of the opposing goal after the restart. The Italians found themselves forced to resort to fouls to disrupt the Dutch attack, picking up four yellow cards. And while goalkeeper Laura Giuliani handled the shots from open play, she finally conceded on set pieces. Vivianne Miedema got her head to a strike from free-kick specialist Sherida Spitse to put the Netherlands ahead 1-0 in the 70th minute. The second goal came 10 minutes later from Stefanie van der Gragt, again off a Spitse free kick.
NEW DELHI: AAP-led Delhi government’s Cabinet on Friday approved the creation of permanent 18 Fast Track Courts and 22 Commercial Courts which will reduce pendency of cases and ensure speedy disposal of cases.”Congrats Delhi! Cabinet approves the creation of permanent 18 Fast Track Courts and 22 Commercial Courts which will reduce pendency of cases and ensure speedy disposal of cases. This will bring respite to litigants. Many thanks to Hon’ble CM Arvind Kejriwal Ji,” tweeted Delhi Law Minister Kailash Gahlot. Also Read – After eight years, businessman arrested for kidnap & murderThe Delhi Cabinet approved the Law Department’s proposal for the creation of 22 Posts of Delhi Higher Judicial Services (DHJS) in Super Time Scale for Commercial Courts Judges along with the ancillary staff. (A total of 212 posts) The annual financial implications are Rs 13,55,90,280. Delhi government’s cabinet also approved the Law Department’s proposal for the conversion of 90 percent of temporary post sanctioned for Fast Track Courts into permanent post which 18 posts of Additional District & Session Judge (ADJs) in Delhi Higher Judicial Services along with 86 posts of ancillary staff. The annual financial implications for the conversion of the above-mentioned posts into permanent posts is Rs 8,88,45,120 (Rs eight crore eighty-eight lakh forty-five thousand and one hundred twenty only) per annum.
New Delhi: A 17-year-old girl, student of Kendriya Vidyalaya school, committed suicide at her residence in South Delhi’s Saket area on Tuesday. Police said that the parents of another girl had complaint to school that their daughter was beaten up by the deceased. Police said that the deceased lived with her family in South Delhi area and was studying class 12. According to police, the case came to light on July 30 at 5.41 pm after they received information at Saket police station that a girl has committed suicide. Also Read – After eight years, businessman arrested for kidnap & murderA police team rushed to the spot and during the investigation, it has been revealed that the girl committed suicide in her house by hanging herself with a cloth. Deputy Commissioner of Police (South) Vijay Kumar said that on further investigation, it has been found that she is a student of class 12. Police said that the investigation further revealed that on Tuesday, parent of another girl, who is a student of Class 11th, had complained to the school principal alleging that on July 29 at 12.30 pm, after the school hours, the deceased thrashed the girl along with two other boys outside the school. Also Read – Two brothers held for snatchings”This had caused a sense of insecurity among the parents of the girl who was beaten and they complaint against the deceased to the school ,” police said. On this complaint, the deceased’s mother was called to the school. But when she reached school, the teachers had gone and she was told to come next day along with her daughter (deceased). In the meantime, her daughter committed suicide at her residence. “So far no foul play has been found in the suicide of deceased. Post mortem of the body has been conducted on July 31 and the body handed over to the family members. They are waiting for the postmortem report. Further investigation is in progress,” said DCP South. Recently on May, a 22-year-old man was found hanging at his house in Nanakpura area. The investigating agency said that they did not recover any suicide note. In another case, a JNU student allegedly committed suicide on Friday by hanging himself from a ceiling fan in a study room of the university.
Mumbai: The CISF and Mumbai Police will further beef up security both inside and outside the Mumbai airport after Thursday’s mega-security breach when a ‘mentally ill’ person jumped over a wall to take a stroll beneath a Spicejet aircraft, official sources said here on Friday. The incident has come as a huge embarrassment to the concerned agencies – happening exactly two weeks after the Centre’s stringent directives on security matters in the wake of the scrapping of Article 370 – with many to remain in force till August 31. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’ On Thursday afternoon, as the Spicejet flight SG-634 Boeing 737 aircraft waited on the taxiway N1 to enter the runway for take off to Bengaluru, passengers and crew of the aircraft and others were shocked to see an unauthorised person moving around on the ground below. He had scaled the perimeter walls of the Mumbai airport which has slums on north and eastern sides, jumped down, strolled nonchalantly around 50 metres to the taxiway, gaped at the engine, touched the huge wheels and went around the undercarriage of the aircraft. Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&K The man even expressed triumph over his feat by raising both his arms even as an airport jeep reached the place to keep an eye on him. But the security personnel did not step out of the vehicle to avoid getting too close to the aircraft engine. Unhindered, the intruder then walked to the tail-end and came out where he was caught by the security team, barely minutes after he came on his adventure, even as his sojourn was recorded in CCTVs and some passenger mobile phones. A thorough search on him revealed nothing including any identification, but he claimed to have entered the restricted security zone “only to see the airplane” at close quarters. He was later identified as a ‘mentally ill’, 24-year-old man from Sion, who recently even clambered atop a stationery BEST bus in his locality. The family explained to the police that he indulged in such antics when he doesn’t take his medicines on time. He is suspected to have entered the airport by climbing on the mobile toilets lining the airport wall.
New Delhi: In a bid to make rides safer for women travelling from railway stations, metro stations and airport, the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi Anil Baijal has launched Himmat Plus QR Code scheme in transport range of Delhi Police.Around 3,000 autos and taxies have now associated with this initiative of city police. The transport range comprises of three units namely IGI Airport, Railways and Metro. The Police Commissioner Amulya Patnaik was present at the occasion which was held at Ajmeri Gate area of New Delhi railway station. Also Read – After eight years, businessman arrested for kidnap & murderDeputy Commissioner of Police (Railways) said they have pasted QR code in autos and taxis. To avail the facility, Himmat Plus application should be downloaded in your phone. “In the QR code functionality, the user opens the Himmat Plus App and scans the QR code from the card which is placed on the headrest of the driver’s seat, facing the customer,” said DCP Railways. When the user presses the ‘Report Journey’ button, it sends the location with the driver’s unique I.D. to the Himmat dashboard working at Himmat stations at PHQ. Also Read – Two brothers held for snatchingsIf the driver is not registered the user receives the pop-up notification on the application driver is not registered with Delhi Police. In this case, passenger can call the Control Room or press the SOS button from the application. “If the driver is registered with Delhi Police, then the user can start the journey and every five minutes, the user receives the pop-up notification on the app. In case the user presses the trouble button, then the officer of Delhi Police will call the passenger. It also sends an alert message to the Emergency Contact Number of the user. All Special Commissioners of Police including Nuzhat Hassan (Women Safety), Praveer Ranjan (Transport), Joint Commissioner of Police (transport) Atul Katiyar and other senior police officers of Delhi Police, Mangu Singh, Managing Director, Delhi Metro Rail Corporation, S.C.Jain DRM, Northern Railway & Senior Officers of Railway Protection Force have also attended the programme. According to the police from airport, nearly one lakh fifty thousand people travel regularly. Whereas around thirteen lakh people from railway stations and nearly thirty lakh people commute on daily basis.
Muzaffarnagar: The police have arrested a man who allegedly shot at RSS activist Sompal Saini in Uttar Pradesh’s Muzaffarnagar district, an officer said on Sunday.During interrogation, the accused Rohit revealed that he attacked Saini due to old enmity, Circle Officer (CO) Sidharth Tomar said.The pistol used to commit the crime was recovered from his possession, he added. In-charge of a wing of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) in Habibpur village, Saini was attacked on Friday.Union Minister Sanjeev Balyan and several BJP leaders had on Saturday met the injured activist at the Meerut Medical College.
Kolkata: Former India captain Sourav Ganguly on Monday did not want to compare Steve Smith and Virat Kohli, stressing that the India captain is still the best in the world but Smith’s records speak for itself. Former Australia skipper Smith retained his position at the top of the ICC Test Player Rankings after the Ashes with Kohli sitting behind him on the second spot. Smith’s scores of 80 and 23 have helped him remain 34 points ahead of Kohli with 937 rating points, an incredible effort since he started the series in fourth position with 857 points before his surge that came courtesy 774 runs in four Tests including a double hundred. Also Read – Puducherry on top after 8-wkt win over Chandigarh”These are questions not to be answered. How does it matter? It’s about performance. Virat is the best in the world at the moment. So that’s what makes us happy,” Ganguly told reporters on the sidelines of an event. Asked about Smith, he said: “His records speak for itself… 26 Test hundreds which is a phenomenal record.” Ganguly was also asked about his ambitions of becoming the next India coach. “Let one coach finish, then we will think about the other coach,” said the 47-year old with a smile. “In any case I am already a coach. I look after the Delhi Capitals in the IPL. In my first season last year, they did well,” he added.
VANCOUVER – Payment for blood and plasma would be prohibited in British Columbia under legislation introduced Thursday.There are no clinics in B.C. that pay people for blood or plasma and the legislation is meant to prevent any from opening.Health Minister Adrian Dix said voluntary donations of blood through Canadian Blood Services help save lives.Similar laws exist in Alberta, Ontario and Quebec, but at least one private organization in Canada pays donors for plasma that is sold on the global market.People who violate British Columbia’s law would be fined up to $10,000 for a first offence, and companies would pay $100,000 for a first offence and $500,000 for each subsequent contravention of the law, the ministry said.Dr. Graham D. Sher, CEO of Canadian Blood Services, said he’s pleased to see the province support for the national blood-supply system.“Canadian Blood Services welcomes efforts to help further strengthen Canada’s voluntary, non-remunerated, publicly funded and accountable collection model,” Sher said in a statement.Rick Turner, co-chair of the BC Health Coalition, said the new legislation will help protect the health and well-being of residents who rely on a voluntary system to collect blood and plasma, the pale-yellow liquid part of blood used for various medical treatments.“B.C., like all jurisdictions, has a limited pool of potential donors,” he said. “Preventing pay-for-plasma clinics from operating in the province ensures that they will not draw donors away from the voluntary blood system.”The coalition, along with BloodWatch.org and the B.C. Hemophiliac Society, has advocated for the legislation since 2016, when a private company said it planned to open clinics in the Vancouver area.Canadian Plasma Resources has clinics in Saskatoon and Moncton and had been in talks with the former Liberal government in B.C.The company’s CEO Barzin Bahardoust said British Columbia’s ban on compensating people for plasma will mean it must continue to buy from paid American donors.“We’re relying on paid-plasma donors from the United States for about 85 per cent of the plasma-protein products that we use in this country,” he said, adding the company has considered expanding to Manitoba and Nova Scotia.He said plasma donors at its two Canadian clinics are paid up to $50 in the form of a tax receipt or a reloadable credit card in that amount.A tainted-blood supply scandal in the 1980s led to safeguards after thousands of Canadians who received blood transfusions were infected with HIV or hepatitis C. A four-year inquiry headed by retired judge Horace Krever in the mid-90s heard from people who were living with the tragic consequences of contaminated blood.Health Canada says it’s legal to collect plasma used for manufacturing plasma products from paid donors.“Paid-plasma donors are critical to ensuring a sufficient supply of blood products in Canada,” the department says on its website.“In fact, approximately 70 per cent of the immune globulins available in Canada are made in whole or in part from plasma from paid donors,” it says about the preparation used to temporarily provide patients with antibodies if they can’t produce their own.A Health Canada spokeswoman said an expert panel established to look into the collection of plasma is expected to deliver a report in the near future.BloodWatch.org executive director Kat Lanteigne said BloodWatch.org made submissions to the panel saying Health Canada has skirted its responsibility to protect the security of the country’s blood supply.“It’s Canadian Blood Services that’s the official national blood authority, not Health Canada,” she said. “By creating a competitor of collection in order to create these life-saving drugs, what Health Canada has done is in absolute opposition to every single one of justice Krever’s recommendations.”— Follow @CamilleBains1 on Twitter.
ST. JOHN’S, N.L. – Premier Dwight Ball says he wants answers about what happened last week when people had to be swiftly airlifted out of Mud Lake, N.L., as the Churchill River suddenly rose downstream from the massive new Muskrat Falls hydro development.Many of the 70 residents are asking whether operations at the megaproject are to blame for conditions never seen by people who’ve lived there for decades, Ball said in an interview Wednesday.“There’s no doubt people are fearful and wondering if this could happen again. We’ve got to make sure that we … get an independent assessment done so that we relieve this fear.“People need answers.”The mostly seasonal Labrador community was swamped May 17 after ice jammed nearby where the Churchill River meets Lake Melville.Ball said the province is now seeking independent consultants to review water flow records, along with traditional knowledge from elders of the region.“They’re very gentle people,” Ball said of residents he met during a tour of the area Monday. “They’re not really pointing fingers at anyone at this point, they’re just saying: ‘I was raised there. I was born there. I’ve never seen this before.’”Nor could they remember their parents ever describing such rapid and severe flooding, Ball said. The difference this year, many residents told him, is the Muskrat Falls development upstream.The $11.7-billion project now under construction near Happy Valley-Goose Bay has bloated in cost by more than $4 billion from original estimates and is well behind schedule. Spillway gates at Muskrat Falls that control reservoir levels are functional. Ball said Crown corporation Nalcor Energy will be asked about any water manipulations as part of the assessment.“Nalcor will be directed to participate about anything that they would have done in recent months that could have potentially contributed to this.”Ball said no timeline has been confirmed but a public report will be released as soon as possible.As of Wednesday, 48 structures at Mud Lake had been inspected and 31 were approved to have power turned back on, he said. Insurance adjusters have begun estimating damages and the provincial government is accepting applications for disaster relief.Some displaced residents are being housed at the 5-Wing Goose Bay military base, Ball said.In an emailed statement, Nalcor said it will co-operate with the assessment.“Nalcor will fully support all ongoing efforts and analysis to determine if its operations contributed to this event.”The statement stressed that gates at the Muskrat Falls spillway have been moving up and down for several months “as part of regular operations to maintain a consistent water level.”“As a result of the spring melt, more water flows into the reservoir and therefore our gates open to allow that naturally occurring inflow to pass through the spillway. By maintaining a constant water level, we did not contribute to any additional water downstream beyond that which is naturally occurring.”Follow @suebailey on Twitter.
VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – There will undoubtedly be many renditions of “O Canada” sung at concerts, community events and backyard BBQs this Canada Day. But what if we all chose one moment and performed the anthem at the same time?We’re working to help to make that happen.We’re inviting you join us for the Canada 150 National Anthem Singalong. How does it work? On July 1, roughly 49,000 people will be gathered to watch the Blue Jays game in Toronto. At the moment when that crowd joins the singing of the national anthem, our colleagues from across Rogers radio and television stations will broadcast “O Canada” as well. Whether you’re at a pool party with a couple of dozen friends or hanging by yourself on the cottage dock, you’ll be able to connect with fellow Canadians across the country by singing along.The pre-game ceremonies at the game will start at 1 pm ET and be carried live on Sportsnet, Sportsnet 590 The FAN and Sportsnet NOW.City television stations will simulcast the ceremonies in Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Toronto and Montreal until the anthem concludes. Rogers’ radio stations – including this one – across the country will broadcast the anthem at 1:11 pm ET so you can join in.And, if you’d like to join the fun, please share videos of your versions of the anthem on social media — including Facebook Live — and use the hashtag #singalong150.There will be plenty of memorable moments this Canada Day. We’re hoping this might be one of them.
OTTAWA – The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has added the Yoplait Minigo and Liberte brands of yogurt to a recall over concerns that pieces of plastic may be in the product.The national recall of General Mills Canada Corp. products include some batches of Yoplait Minigo strawberry and raspberry yogurt in 90-gram containers, as well as Liberte Greek yogurt in raspberry and coconut flavours in the 120-gram size.The recall follows a similar one by Ultima Foods in June over concerns about the potential of plastic pieces in seven Iogo yogurt products.The Iogo recall included six 93-millilitre Iogo Nano packs of strawberry, raspberry, vanilla and banana drinkable yogurt and one-litre Iogo smoothie protein packs with mango, strawberry-raspberry and strawberry flavours.
QUEBEC – There are lucky men, and then there’s Jules Parent.For the second time in nine years, the 69-year-old Quebecer has won $1 million playing the lottery.“I know very well that the probability of winning is extremely small and winning twice in a relatively short time is really something else,” Parent said in an interview Thursday.Parent showed up at Loto-Quebec offices in Quebec City to pick up a cheque for $1,222,069 after winning the jackpot playing the Crown of Egypt lottery online.He won $1 million back in 2008 playing Lotto 6-49.Parent’s most recent jackpot came on a play worth $3.20. Loto-Quebec places the odds of winning with such a bet at one in 23,437,500.The odds of winning the Lotto 6-49 are one in 14 million.“I don’t know who did this,” he said, implying he must have some sort of help from above. “Was I born under a good star?”Parent said he enjoys playing, but is not a compulsive gambler, adding it’s one of his favourite pastimes along with walking, fishing and hunting.“I’m going to continue playing — the same amount I do now,” he said.“I’m retired so it helps me pass the time. Just like any other game of chance, sometimes you win and, other times, unfortunately, you head home with less money.”Parent, who lives alone and doesn’t have kids, said he plans to demolish his home and build a new one.“It’ll be a modest home,” he said. “It won’t be a castle, but it will be in the modern style.”He also isn’t ruling out a trip to Las Vegas.
VANCOUVER – School districts in British Columbia are scrambling to hire thousands of teachers ahead of the new school year to satisfy a court decision that reinstates standards on class size.The Supreme Court of Canada ruled last November that legislation implemented by the province’s previous Liberal government in 2002 that prevented teachers from negotiating class size and composition related to special needs students was unconstitutional, resulting in a need for 3,000 to 3,500 more teachers.“It’s a massive undertaking,” said Glen Hansman, president of the BC Teachers’ Federation, adding the bulk of the positions are being filled in the final weeks before classes begin.The hirings mean students can expect more support when they return to school, but Hansman said the rush to post and fill vacancies could have been avoided if more had been done before May’s provincial election.“The previous government didn’t do enough before the election … to actually get a lot of this work done before the end of the last school year,” he said.The Education Ministry said in a statement “there were no substantial delays in the hiring process as a result of the election.”The Liberals earmarked $50 million in January to start hiring teachers while negotiations to reinstate class sizes were underway.A deal was reached in March to restore language from previous contracts that called for smaller class sizes, ending the union’s 15-year battle over bargaining rights and resulting in a $330 million funding boost for public schools.Premier John Horgan, whose New Democrats formed a government in July, included education in his list of priorities for the legislature in September.Hansman said the new government has eased lingering funding concerns for school districts, but attracting enough recruits remains a challenge for some jurisdictions, partly because of the cost of living in B.C.“Unfortunately, because of the affordability issues in this province and the fact that teachers in B.C. are paid significantly less than teachers in other parts of the country, it is really a difficult pitch to make to people who are graduating from teacher education programs to come out to B.C.,” Hansman said.Northern and rural communities have long struggled to bring in teachers, particularly specialty and secondary school teachers, he added.The Education Ministry said to help rural schools a $2 million fund was created to offer incentives, such as moving allowances or housing supports.For districts unable to meet the new standards, the ministry said remedies were built into the agreement so existing teachers could receive “more prep time, additional teaching supports, or some other form of assistance” to make up for the shortfall.Maintaining an adequate pool of on-call teachers has also been a challenge as they take full-time jobs and Hansman said the supply will need to be replenished.Gordon Swan, president of the B.C. School Trustees Association, said the coming school year is a transitional one and long-term planning involving the province, school boards, union and teachers education programs will be needed to meet the demands of growing communities.In the province’s largest school district, there is also a demand for more physical space.Doug Strachan of the Surrey School District said about 50 portables had to be purchased for new classroom space, adding to the existing 275 portables.Portables were first installed at schools that have no alternative spaces, he said. There may be a shortfall of roughly a dozen portables, but those are expected to be in place by the second or third week of the school year.The district has also worked aggressively to fill positions for 168 new classrooms this fall — representing five years of normal class growth, Strachan said.“There may be some positions still being filled getting into the school year but we expected that they will be hired quickly and it won’t have impact on startup,” he said.Swan said most districts have shared similar sentiments, and he’s confident everything will be in place by the end of September.“My thought to parents is that they shouldn’t be worried about the situation this fall,” he said. “There will be additional teachers in the schools and their child will have a classroom to go to.”— Follow @Givetash on Twitter
A political science professor says a racist heckler that interrupted a campaign rally for NDP leadership hopeful Jagmeet Singh is an example of the discrimination that deters minorities from politics.A video posted on YouTube of Singh’s campaign event in Brampton, Ont., earlier this week shows a woman interrupting his speech and accusing him of supporting Shariah law and the Muslim Brotherhood.Singh, who is Sikh, responds to the woman saying he supports and loves her, and that he won’t be intimidated by hate.“Everyone in this room loves you, we all support you, we believe in your rights,” he said as she continued yelling at him in front of a crowd of supporters.Erin Tolley, an associate professor at the University of Toronto, said the incident is a reminder that although Canada promotes multiculturalism, racist views are still prevalent.“I think one danger in Canada is we become very congratulatory about our multiculturalism … but to some extent that conceals the number of Canadians that harbour racist sentiments,” she said.Tolley said studies have shown about 30 per cent of Canadians hold racist opinions and while they may not all be vocal about their views, it does influence how they vote.In her research on race and politics, she said discrimination against minorities, gender and people’s sexual orientation can give them pause about whether they want to enter or continue in politics.“I’m working on a study right now talking to people who had ran for the nomination of their party and many candidates of colour were somewhat surprised by what a negative experience it was, and so they are thinking twice about whether they want to continue,” she said.Singh’s ability to keep calm and respond in a positive manner to the heckler is evidence that it wasn’t the first time he experienced outwardly racist remarks, Tolley said.Although it was a negative incident, she said it did allow Singh to show off his leadership skills and raise his profile across the country.“He shows he’s not an angry person, he can keep his wits about him, he isn’t going to lose his cool and, politically, regardless of the situation, that’s seen as advantageous.”Singh’s rising popularity, at least among the NDP, is a sign of a growing desire among the public for more diversity in politics, Tolley said.She added that he’s also viewed as an inspiration to many people, which is reflected in the success he had in getting more people to join the party.Tolley noted that if Singh is voted NDP leader this October, he will be the first federal leader of colour selected by party members in Canada.“Talk about it’s 2017 – given Canada’s history of multiculturalism, how come that hasn’t happened before now?” she said.
A Canadian man, his American wife and their three young children have been released after being held captive for years by a network with ties to the Taliban, U.S. and Pakistani officials said Thursday.Pakistan’s army secured the release of Joshua Boyle and his wife Caitlan Coleman, who were abducted five years ago while travelling in Afghanistan and had been held by the Haqqani network.U.S. officials had planned on moving the family out of Pakistan on a U.S. transport plane, but at the last minute Boyle would not get on, the official said.Another U.S. official said Boyle was nervous about being in “custody” given his background. Boyle was previously married to the sister of Omar Khadr, who spent 10 years at Guantanamo Bay after being captured when he was 15 in a 2002 firefight at an al-Qaeda compound in Afghanistan.A Canadian man, his American wife and their three young children born during the couple’s five years in captivity were freed in a Pakistani commando raid and shootout, authorities announced Thursday.The Pakistani military said Joshua Boyle, his wife Caitlan Coleman and their children had been freed in “an intelligence-based operation” after they’d crossed the border from Afghanistan, where they had been abducted by a group with ties to the Taliban.Tariq Azim Khan, the country’s high commissioner to Canada, said once the military received word of the family’s whereabouts from U.S. intelligence authorities, they acted quickly.Khan described a dramatic scene in which gunshots rang out as the family was intercepted by Pakistani forces while being transported by their captors in the trunk of a van.Intelligence officials in Pakistan said the confrontation happened near a road crossing in the Nawa Kili area of the district of Kohat in northwest Pakistan.“We know there was a shootout and Pakistan commandos carried out an attack and rescued the hostages,” Khan said from London.Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland, who has met with the Boyle family in the past, said they had endured an “absolutely horrible ordeal.” Freeland refused to describe the circumstances of the release, citing security reasons but said Canada had been working with the U.S., Pakistan and Afghanistan, whom she thanked.“We all have to really remember what a traumatic experience this family has gone through – really unspeakable,” Freeland said in Mexico City.Boyle and Coleman, who was pregnant at the time of the abduction, were held by the Haqqani network, a group U.S. officials call a terrorist organization.Boyle’s parents, who live in Smiths Falls, Ont., said their son and his family intend to come to Canada.“The family has chosen Canada,” Patrick Boyle said Thursday evening. “We’re hoping to know ourselves when we get to go pick them up.”The family were safe but exhausted, Patrick Boyle said.“We just spoke to them again recently, Boyle said. “He (Joshua) said they’ve all been up since Tuesday so he was very pleased, he’s running on empty.”In anticipation of the release, Canadian authorities had travelled to Smiths Falls and woke Boyle up early Thursday morning to give him the news.“They’d been in a hotel two minutes down the street for the better part of the day, waiting for approval to tell us they’d been released,” Boyle said.“We got a call at one a.m. saying ‘we’ll be at your door in five minutes and it’s not bad news.”‘He said he and his family were “over the top” Thursday at word of the release.“We struggled with every dark spot in the last five years, today that’s sort of parked,” he said.Joshua’s mother Linda had no doubt what the first thing she intended to do when she sees her son and family.“Hug them, slobber kisses all over them,” she said. Related content:Timeline: Captivity of Joshua Boyle and his familyColeman’s parents, meanwhile, posted a statement on the door of their Pennsylvania home saying they appreciated “all the interest and concern being expressed at the joyful news that Caity, Josh and our grandchildren have been released after five long years of captivity.”A U.S. national security official, who wasn’t authorized to discuss the case publicly, said the family were together in a safe location in Pakistan. American officials had planned on moving the family out of Pakistan on a U.S. transport plane but Boyle refused to board, the official said.Another U.S. official said Boyle was nervous about being in “custody” given that he was previously married to Zaynab Khadr, the sister of Canadian Omar Khadr, who spent 10 years at Guantanamo Bay after being captured when he was 15 in Afghanistan.Officials discounted any link between that background and Boyle’s capture and Freeland stressed that Boyle was not the focus of any investigation.Patrick Boyle suggested it was a matter of principle because his son was told the plane would have stopped at Bagram air base in Afghanistan, which American authorities had once used to ship detainees to its Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba where many languished for years under harsh conditions.“I just think he just saw it as unnecessary and philosophically he finds it offensive,” said Boyle, who added that his son was effusive in his praise of his rescuers and is eager to cooperate with authorities and bring his captors to justice.The release came nearly five years to the day since Boyle and Coleman lost touch with their families while travelling in a mountainous region near the Afghan capital, Kabul.The couple had set off in the summer 2012 for a journey that took them to Russia, the central Asian countries of Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, and then to Afghanistan. Coleman’s parents last heard from their son-in-law on Oct. 8, 2012, from an internet cafe in what Boyle described as an “unsafe” part of Afghanistan.The couple appeared in a series of videos beginning in 2013, which were shared online. In one posted last December, the pair urged governments on all sides to reach a deal to secure the family’s freedom. Boyle’s parents had said the clip marked the first time they had seen their two grandchildren.They have said it was heartbreaking to watch their grandchildren observing their surroundings while listening to their mother describe how they were made to watch her being “defiled.”“It is an indescribable emotional sense one has watching a grandson making faces at the camera, while hearing our son’s leg chains clanging up and down on the floor as he tries to settle his son,” the Boyles said in a written statement at the time. “It is unbelievable that they have had to shield their sons from their horrible reality for four years.”The parents said their son told them in a letter that he and his wife tried to protect their children by pretending their signs of captivity are part of a game being played with guards.In the clip, Coleman said she and her family had been living a “Kafkaesque nightmare” since 2012. The Boyles had said their daughter-in-law could not have used a more accurate term.In commenting on news of the family’s release from captivity, U.S. Premier Donald Trump praised Pakistan for its willingness to “do more to provide security in the region.” Baldor reported from Tampa and Colvin from Washington. Associated Press writer Jon Gambrell in Dubai contributed to this report.
VANCOUVER – A spike in owl sightings in downtown Vancouver could be good news for ridding the city of pesky rodents, a wildlife group says, but there’s a downside for the birds.Photos of barred owls sitting outside transit stations and on building awnings have been circulating on Twitter in recent weeks.Rob Hope with the Orphaned Wildlife Rehabilitation Society in nearby Delta said more predators like barred owls in the city can result in less prey.“Rats and mice have always been a problem in Vancouver. With (owls) hanging around, more predators, they’ll be popping more prey,” he said Friday.Hope said the bird population in the city can ebb and flow and there appears to be a population of younger owls “that are looking for a hunting area or anywhere they can basically set up shop.”Their usual targets are rats or pigeons, he said, adding downtown Vancouver seems to have a plentiful supply of the owls’ preferred food.While a lower rat population benefits the city, the birds are at risk in that environment, Hope said.Owls can be hurt or killed flying into glass buildings or being hit by vehicles while hunting, he said, contributing to an increase in the number of calls his organization has received about injured wildlife.“When they’re on the sides of the roads hunting for food, obviously when a car is coming and they’re taking off or landing for food is when they’re getting smoked.”Another major threat for the barred owls is rodenticide. Hope said owls eating rats that have consumed poison can themselves be poisoned.Rat poison is the cheapest and easiest way to get rid of the pests, Hope said, but it can take up to 10 days for a rodent to die, after they’re left in a drunken-like state.“If you have a rat that is hauling butt and you have another one that is a little off kilter, as opportunistic hunters that they are, they’re going to pick off the one that is kind of drunk and that’s usually the poisoned one,” Hope said.He is encouraging people to switch to snap traps instead of poison, to minimize the harm to owls and other predators.With increased development, Hope said it’s possible that more owls will move into the city as they are pushed out of their natural habitat.Barred owls have been culled in some areas of British Columbia to reduce competition and protect the endangered spotted owls, which are considered priority species. But Hope said the barred owls’ presence in Vancouver shouldn’t have a negative effect on other species.Since barred owls are “more docile” than other birds, Hope said it’s not surprising that some of the photos taken by the public are within close range.“They’re not the smartest ones, I guess you can say … even in the wild people can usually get five or six feet away from them before they’re spooked,” he said, adding anyone trying to snap a photo should still give a bird some space.— Follow @Givetash on Twitter.
VICTORIA – A statue of former prime minister John A. Macdonald will be removed from the front entrance of Victoria City Hall as a gesture of reconciliation with First Nations, says the city’s Mayor Lisa Helps.Macdonald was the first prime minister of Canada and Helps said he was also a “key architect” of the residential school system.The decision, which must be approved by council, followed a year of deliberations and consultation with the local Songhees and Esquimalt chiefs and councils, she said in an interview Wednesday.“For people who are Indigenous who are coming into city hall, who may have been in residential schools, or their moms or grandmas or dads or grandpas were in residential schools, this statue is a physical manifestation of that painful colonial history that they themselves or their families have experienced,” Helps said in an interview.The decision to remove the statue is the first concrete action by the so-called City Family, made up of the mayor, two councillors, and Indigenous representatives, as part of city’s reconciliation program.Council will receive the report Thursday recommending the statue removal, and Helps said she can’t imagine it will be rejected since council gave the group a mandate to pursue reconciliation when it formed last year.While the statue is in storage, Helps said the city will continue a dialogue about how to tell a more complete story about Macdonald’s history that both celebrates his contributions as the country’s first prime minister at the same time as acknowledging the harm he caused.In a post on her campaign website, she points to the following statement that Macdonald made in the House of Commons in 1883, as evidence of his harmful legacy and thinking:“When the school is on the reserve, the child lives with its parents, who are savages, and though he may learn to read and write, his habits and training mode of thought are Indian.”“It has been strongly impressed upon myself, as head of the Department, that Indian children should be withdrawn as much as possible from the parental influence, and the only way to do that would be to put them in central training industrial schools where they will acquire the habits and modes of thought of white men.”Although Helps has an undergraduate, master’s and partially completed PhD in Canadian history, she said she is ashamed that she was unaware of the Father of Confederation’s role in developing residential schools.Helps said the city does not propose erasing history, but rather taking time to tell that chapter of Canadian history in a thoughtful way.The statue will be removed Saturday and stored until an appropriate way to “recontextualize” Macdonald is determined, she said.“History is always being retold and part of the act of removing this statue is the ability to tell a more fulsome history John A Macdonald played, both positive and negative, in the history of our country.”A cleansing, blessing and healing ceremony will be held in the space after the statue is removed and a plaque explaining its removal will be installed in its place.In the longer term, a piece of art representative of the Lekwungen culture, which includes both the Songhees and Esquimalt nations, will likely go in its place, Helps said.Victoria isn’t the only government or institution reviewing its celebration of Macdonald. In August, an elementary teachers’ union in Ontario issued a call to remove his name from schools in the province. And in May, the Canadian Historical Association voted to strip Macdonald’s name from one of its top writing prizes.Other historical figures have also come under scrutiny for their roles in the residential school system.The Office of the Prime Minister and the Privy Council was known as Langevin Block until Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had it changed. Hector-Louis Langevin, another Father of Confederation, argued that a separate school system for Indigenous youth was needed to assimilate them into Canadian Culture.Ontario’s public education system owes its beginnings to Egerton Ryerson, but he is also believed to have helped shape residential school policy through his ideas on education of Indigenous children. Indigenous students’ group and the Ryerson Students Union have called for Toronto’s Ryerson University to change its name out of respect for residential school survivors.— By Amy Smart in Vancouver
OTTAWA – Maxime Bernier declared Thursday that he is quitting the federal Conservatives to launch his own political movement. The full text of the hard-hitting statement he read aloud during his news conference:___“Over the past few months, I have been raising policy issues which I believe are crucially important for the future of our country. This is my job as a member of Parliament.“Moreover, it is my duty, as a Conservative member of Parliament, to contribute to debates and to offer policy solutions from a conservative perspective. Otherwise, what is the point of being involved in politics?“I am in politics to defend ideas, real conservative ideas. Because I passionately care about Canada’s future. Because I know that the free-market conservative philosophy has the best solutions to ensure our society is more prosperous, secure, and peaceful.“However, my party’s stand on several issues have convinced me that under the current leadership, it has all but abandoned its core conservative principles.“I still cannot understand how a party that is supposed to defend free markets supports a small cartel that artificially increases the price of milk, chicken and eggs for millions of Canadian consumers.“More importantly, supply management has become one of the main stumbling blocks to an agreement with the United States on NAFTA. Former Conservative leaders Brian Mulroney and Rona Ambrose agree that it should be put on the table.“But the Conservative Party has been siding with the Liberal government. It also supports the retaliatory tariffs of the Liberal government, even though this is going to hurt our businesses and consumers. Even though Canada has no realistic chance of winning a trade war with a neighbour ten times larger. Even though we could successfully relaunch the negotiations if we put supply management on the table, and if we accept President Trump’s offer to negotiate a dismantling of all barriers, as the European Union has done.“The Liberals are playing politics with this crucially important trade file. They are endangering the 20 per cent of our economy that depends on trade with the U.S., and Canada’s future prosperity.“But instead of leading as a principled Conservative and defending the interests of Canada and Canadians, Andrew Scheer is following the Trudeau Liberals. I was told that internal polls are showing that the Liberals’ response to Trump is popular. And that in six months, if the polls change, the party’s stand may change too.“The same thing happened in reaction to my tweets on diversity and multiculturalism. This is another crucial debate for the future of our country. Do we want to emphasize our ethnic and religious differences, and exploit them to buy votes, as the Liberals are doing? Or emphasize what unites us and the values that can guarantee social cohesion?“Just like in other Western societies grappling with this issue, a large number of Canadians, and certainly the vast majority of Conservatives, are worried that we are heading in the wrong direction. But it’s not politically correct to raise such questions.“Instead of leading the debate and pushing back against all the unfair accusations, Andrew Scheer chose to avoid the controversy. He and several of my colleagues disavowed me. They are so afraid of criticism by the Left and the media that they prefer to let down millions of supporters across the country who would like us to tackle this issue.“When the Liberal government recently renewed the unfair and inefficient equalization formula for another five years, I was the only one to criticize it. Not a word from my Conservative colleagues.“A Conservative party that supports free markets should also advocate the end of corporate welfare. It is not only the principled thing to do, it could also be popular if we defend it in a consistent way. Canadians are tired of paying taxes to bail out Bombardier, Ford and other businesses.“Instead of taking up this idea, Andrew Scheer announced that he would name a regional minister for all the regional development agencies in the country, as opposed to having only one minister overseeing them as is the case now. He wants a minister from Quebec to distribute subsidies to Quebec, a minister from Atlantic Canada to distribute subsidies to Atlantic Canada, and so on.“The conservative solution should be to abolish these wasteful agencies. What my party proposes is to make them more efficient at buying votes with taxpayers’ money.“How can we expect this party to adopt any conservative reform when it comes to power, if it cannot even articulate a clear stand and defend them before it is elected? I am now convinced that what we will get if Andrew Scheer becomes prime minister is just a more moderate version of the disastrous Trudeau government.“I have come to realize over the past year that this party is too intellectually and morally corrupt to be reformed.“I know for a fact that many in the caucus privately oppose supply management. But buying votes in a few key ridings is more important than defending the interests of all Canadians.“The whole strategy of the party is to play identity politics, pander to various interest groups and buy votes with promises, just like the Liberals.“The Conservative Party tries to avoid important but controversial issues of concern to Conservatives and Canadians in general. It is afraid to articulate any coherent philosophy to support its positions.“Every public declaration is tested with polls and focus groups. The result is a bunch of platitudes that don’t offend anybody, but also don’t mean anything and don’t motivate anyone.“Andrew Scheer keeps talking about his ‘positive Conservative vision.’ But nobody knows what that vision is.“The Conservative Party has abandoned conservatives. It does not represent them anymore. And it has nothing of substance to offer Canadians looking for a political alternative.“If we want conservative principles to win the battle of ideas, we have to defend them openly, with passion and conviction.“That is what I want to do. And this is why as of today, I am no longer a member of the Conservative Party of Canada. I want to do politics differently. I will find another way to give a voice to millions of Canadians. And I will continue to fight for Freedom, Responsibility, Fairness and Respect.”(Source: http://www.maximebernier.com/why_i_am_leaving_the_conservative_party_of_canada)
OTTAWA – Canada’s spy agency wants to shield the identities of five current and former employees from the public when they testify in the lawsuit of a Montreal man who was detained in Sudan — prompting vehement objections from the man’s lawyer.In newly filed court documents, federal lawyers say the Canadian Security Intelligence Service identities must be kept confidential in order to protect the individuals from personal harm and to ensure the service can continue to work effectively.It is the latest legal spat in the long-running case of Abousfian Abdelrazik, who is suing the Canadian government for an apology and compensation over his lengthy overseas detention.Abdelrazik, 56, arrived in Canada from Africa as a refugee in 1990. He became a Canadian citizen five years later.He was arrested during a 2003 visit to Sudan to see family. In custody, Abdelrazik was interrogated by CSIS about suspected extremist links. He claims he was tortured by Sudanese intelligence officials during two periods of detention, though Canada says it knew nothing of the purported abuse.Abdelrazik denies any involvement in terrorism, and civil proceedings against the government are slated to begin Monday in the Federal Court of Canada.The federal lawyers, backed by an affidavit from a senior CSIS official, are asking the Federal Court for an order that will permit the spy service witnesses to testify in open court while ensuring their names and physical appearance are kept from the public, Abdelrazik and his counsel.All five employees have “worked in a covert operational capacity” and divulging their identities would put them at risk of personal harm, given the threats that are frequently made against the service and its employees, the federal submission says.The government proposes the five “protected witnesses” be allowed to enter and leave the courtroom via a special entrance, take an oath in a separate room and testify while hidden by a screen or through videoconference in a manner that obscures their faces.The witnesses would provide their real names in writing to the judge and the required court staff prior to testifying.In their submission, federal lawyers say the arrangement “strikes an appropriate balance” between the traditional tenet of open court proceedings and the need to maintain secrecy. “The open court principle is not absolute, and must, in appropriate cases, be limited for reasons of national security, the safety of individuals, and the proper administration of justice.”Abdelrazik’s lawyer, Paul Champ, calls the federal request “a gross overreach.”“In some cases the identity of undercover police officers are protected, but it’s only for a limited period and with evidence of a specific danger or threat. There is none of that here. And why should CSIS get more protection than the police?” Champ said.“There needs to be accountability and those responsible should not be allowed to hide in the shadows.”He plans to file written arguments with the court opposing the confidentiality demands later this week. This disagreement is not expected to delay the trial as the witnesses are not scheduled to appear for several weeks.The federal submission notes the CSIS Act makes it an offence to name an employee “who was, is or is likely to become engaged in covert operational activities” of the service.Senior CSIS personnel who appear in public forums are typically identified publicly. Current CSIS director David Vigneault is expected to testify openly at the Abdelrazik trial.However, federal lawyers contend the five other witnesses in question must be shielded given the threats to intelligence personnel posed by terrorist organizations such as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant and hostile intelligence looking to exploit such opportunities.They also cite the recent British charges against two alleged Russian intelligence officers in relation to the attempted murder of double agent Sergei Skripal, his daughter and a police officer with a military-grade nerve agent.Threats against CSIS personnel have also come from individuals encountered during spy service investigations, says the affidavit from the senior spy service official, identified only as “David” in keeping with the agency’s arguments for anonymity.“These have included threats uttered during interviews, projectiles thrown at cars, being approached with weapons and receiving threatening voice messages,” says the affidavit.— Follow @JimBronskill on Twitter
VANCOUVER — Canada’s proposed edible pot regulations would result in tasteless products wrapped in wasteful packaging, shutting out medical patients and fuelling a continued black market, critics say.The consultation period on the proposed rules ended Wednesday and Health Canada is now reviewing the responses. Jessika Villano, owner of Buddha Barn dispensary in Vancouver, says she hopes the government genuinely wants her opinion.“I don’t feel like anybody’s been listening. I feel a little bit deflated, actually,” she said.When Canada legalized weed last fall, it only allowed fresh or dried bud, oil, plants and seeds. Health Canada released its proposed regulations for edibles, extracts and topicals in December and asked for feedback.The government plans to have regulations in place for those products no later than Oct. 17 this year.Villano said she’s concerned about a number of elements of the proposed regulations. A single serving would be limited to 10 milligrams of THC, the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis, and each serving must be individually wrapped.The rule is more strict than regulations in Colorado or Washington, where multiple servings are allowed per package, for example in a chocolate bar demarcated into squares that each contain 10 milligrams.“I feel that Health Canada is creating an environmental nightmare,” Villano said.Long-time users who take cannabis to combat pain, stress or nausea use much higher doses, with some cancer patients using up to 650 milligrams per dose, she said. The regulations would outlaw higher-dose products and any substitute would be unattainably expensive, she said.The regulations also say the products must not be appealing to youth and the packages can’t advertise dessert or confectionery flavours. Edibles must also not “encourage over-consumption” and be shelf-stable, so no refrigeration.While there’s nothing in the rules that explicitly outlaws sweet ingredients, Villano said she’s worried the restrictions mean brownies, cookies and candies are off-limits.“They’re proposing that we sell sand,” Villano said. “I think a lot of adults would like to have cannabis sugar in their tea.”Health Canada was not able to provide a response before publication.Yannick Craigwell’s company, Treatsandtreats, sells sweet goodies containing up to 220 milligrams of THC to medical patients. His packaging isn’t colourful or bright — it’s simply a black bag with a clear window to show what’s inside and a muffin on the logo. But the proposed regulations would not allow a cut-out window nor the advertising of confectionery flavours.Craigwell said he hopes Health Canada sets up an office where companies can send their package designs for approval or disapproval, because “there’s no way to know” what’s acceptable based on the proposed regulations.He said he had no doubt the black market would persist if the proposed rules are finalized without changes.“If there’s a need, people are going to fill that need. If there’s a financial reward for filling that need, that’s the whole premise of the black market,” Craigwell said.Bruce Linton, CEO of Canopy Growth Corp., said the rules aren’t perfect, but they’re very good. His company is developing a calorie-free cannabis beverage and he doesn’t see an issue with the 10 milligram limit per serving for drinks.The one type of product where the limit might be too strict is a vape pen, which usually hold a higher dose so they can be used on multiple occasions, he said.But for the most part, the government is moving forward in a very well-regulated, incremental way, he said, adding it’s easier to increase the allowed dosage later rather than decrease it.“In the context of how governments normally work, this is astounding,” Linton said.“The government of Canada has come up with how you can drink and eat and vape cannabis and are regulating it at a federal level and are selling it through provincially controlled stores. Are you sure we’re not making all this stuff up?”— Follow @ellekane on Twitter.Laura Kane, The Canadian Press